Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Reading: Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, and 20-21

Verse 17: “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life”.

Our reading today opens with the reminder, “I am coming soon”! Jesus is not speaking in our time frame but in His. Our life is but a mist (James 4:14), so our time reference is different than God’s. Jesus then goes on to remind us that He was there in the beginning and will be there at the end. Jesus was there at creation and will be there at the new creation and beyond.

Jesus will welcome all who “wash their robes”. These will have the right to the tree of life and can enter the new Jerusalem. Sin is the barrier between us and Jesus. When we live with sin in our lives, we are separated from Christ Jesus. When we acknowledge our sins and repent of them, seeking to live and walk with Jesus, then our sins are forgiven. When we do this, we are washing our robes.

Once we are made right with Jesus, we can enter into His presence. One day that means into eternity. In verse 17 we hear the invitation, “Come”! John goes on to expand on this invitation by saying, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life”. We have a natural thirst for God. It is that hole inside all of us that can only be filled by a personal relationship with God in Christ. This hole is created in us the moment we are woven together by God. We are made in His image; therefore we long for God – we thirst for a relationship with Him. To our thirst, He simply says, “Come”. We are invited to take from the “free gift” and to drink of it deeply. It is the water of life. Jesus gives us life here and offers us life eternal too.

The passage for today closes by Jesus once again saying, “Yes, I am coming soon”. I love John’s response: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus”. Yes, you are coming soon. Thanks be to God. And all of God’s people say, amen.

Prayer: Father, today I join John saying come, come Lord Jesus. Come now into my life. Come soon to make all things new. Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.

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Reading: Matthew 22: 1-14

Verse Nine: Go to the streets and invite to the banquet anyone you find.

Today’s parable is symbolic of God’s continuing invitation to all of humanity to come into the kingdom of God.  The original invitation began with God’s chosen people, but most rejected the invite – they did not see Jesus as the Messiah.  Still God invited them.  They abused and killed many who God sent to invite them – even killing the Son.  So God sent others out, saying, “Go to the streets and invite to the banquet anyone you find”.  In the Good News translation the Great Commission from Matthew 28 reads, “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere”, mirroring the invitation to all.  In God’s great patience, He will continue and continue to invite all into the kingdom.  Today, tomorrow, and on into the future God will continue to send out invitations to all who are lost.

The parable goes on to say that the good and the bad respond to the invitation, filling the banquet hall.  There are some who hear the invitation and come to see what it is all about.  Some come because a friend or family member received the invitation and they are going.  They come and they sit in the pew.  But they do not take the next step.  They do not become a part of the kingdom.  In the parable, the king comes to look over the guests.  He notices a man not wearing the right clothes.  The man did not fully accept the invitation.  He came to the banquet, but on his terms.  He remains stubbornly silent.  He is cast out into darkness.

This same idea occurs elsewhere in scripture.  In the parable of the sheep and the goats, for example, the goats are left wondering why they are cast out.  They knew who Jesus was and even did a few things He asked, but they did not choose to enter a saving personal relationship that changed their lives.  Today, many know who Jesus is, but they cling to their old self.  They appear to be at the banquet, but inside they are the ones in control, not Jesus.

To be a follower requires that we put off the old self and take on the new robe of righteousness.  We must not only accept the invitation, but we must allow it to reshaped us into the image of Christ.  We must die to self so that Christ can rule on the throne of our hearts.  Yet even then God continues to send us invitations.  He invites us to go out and live our lives as the salt and light the world so desperately needs.  He invites us to go out to the street corners and to invite everyone we see, helping them into the kingdom.  How will we do this today?

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No Matter the Messanger

Luke announces the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry within the context of who is in charge officially.  He names Tiberius Caesar along with more local rulers like Herod and Pilate.  All were men with great power over the people they ruled.  They decided on most matters of daily life and had the power to decide who lived and who died.  Rome was powerful and kept a tight leash on its subjects.  Within this system the Jewish religious leaders – Annas and Caiaphas – had some limited power.  It was far less power than the Roman rulers, but far more than the common people of Israel.

Into this context of political and religious leaders who love pomp and circumstance, who love to appear large and in charge, steps John.  He was humble and dressed in the simplest of clothing.  Instead of palaces and villas, he lived in the desert.  Instead of fine food and other luxuries, he ate wild locusts and honey.  After looking at the leaders on big thrones and in fine attire, many ust of looked at John and said, “Huh?”  The authorities must have really wondered about leaving the fine trappings of their courts and heading out into the wilderness to listen to this peasant.

But wouldn’t we say the same thing if John were to appear in our town?  In my town he would live along the creek and take shleter under a bridge or he would live up in the low hills on the edge of town and sleep in a tent or lean-to.  After a few days of John living this way, maybe more than a few of us would rather not be too near him.  We are used to our important information coming from men and women in nice clothes or in black robes.  But they are not the only sources.

We must be open to God’s word coming from any source.  He has picked some surprising people and will continue to do so.  From the elderly to the child, from the suit to the rags, God can and will use anyone to bring His message to us.  He could even use you or me.  May we have eyes to see and ears to hear all that God desires us to see and hear, no matter the messanger.

Scripture reference: Luke 3: 1-2